Laconia Bike Week. When you think “Bike Week”, music may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But it should be in the top two. While Laconia Bike Week, the oldest motorcycle rally in the country offers some incredible scenic riding and destinations it has always had a very good sized heaping of local clubs supporting local musicians. I’ll cover some of those but first I’ll talk about LaconiaFest.
Many first year events are no stranger to controversy and LaconiaFest was not spared that problem. With that said and having attended and dealt with some of the staff myself I saw committed people working, supporting & managing national & regional bands. Late week cancellations put regional bands in an upside down position. LaconiaFest had some big wins and could have been a perfect event that would bring Laconia Bike Week on par with music events at other large scale rallies. This event is extremely important and it is my hope that issues can be resolved and there will be a LaconiaFest 2.
Laconia Bike Week is huge and there are lots of venues to report on. If you ride and love music. Laconia Bike Week is for you!
LaconiaFest was planned as a 9 day event featuring not only major nation acts like Ted Nugent, Steven Tyler, Fuel, Saving Abel & Bret Michaels but also many of the region’s best rockers. This is a welcomed addition to your humble narrator who has been covering music up at Bike Week for several years (and attending the event for 20 years). See some pics of Ted Nugent
Not being able to attend all days of LaconiaFest I missed some great local & national bands. The lineup for the days I attended were very strong.
Some bands I was aware of from the local music scene that definitely deserve a spot on the bigger stage like BulletHead and the ever popular Leaving Eden. BulletHead was formed in 2007 by frontman and songwriter Jeff Royds. Never intending to be political, songs like “Election” have changed that. They have other tunes that take on social issues like “Celebrity Douchebag”. a personal favorite of mine. Here’s more pictures of Bullethead
Leaving Eden is a hard rock/Heavy Metal originals band from Massachusetts. They are a highly regarded band who are well established on the music scene. I’m from the Republic of Massachusetts (as Ted Nugent likes to call it) so it was a true pleasure to see some local talent from my area but also others like a band from Maine call Gunhouse Hill who rocked the shit out of that stage. More pictures of Leaving Eden
Gunhouse Hill is a four piece Rock & Roll band, self described as “a mix of attitude, style and a badass sound. The most primal of rock beauty with great lyrics put to big guitars”. I could agree with that description.
While LaconiaFest should be a prime destination for bikers and non-bikers alike there are several other hot spots that people who love music and motorcycles should look at. Actually I should say if they ride up any time of year as these venues operate year around and can always use the support.
Bike Week takes place in the Weirs Beach area of Laconia and centered in a 1 mile radius you will find some great places to see live music. In New Hampshire parlance it’s at “Funspot” serves as all the directions you’ll need to find the Broken Spoke Saloon and one of my personal favorites The Looney Bin.
Other Bike Week Venues:
The Looney Bin
The Looney Bin hosts some of the region’s best bands. This year Chris Fitz was one of the featured artists. If you have not seen Chris you should do something about that. The CFB is a solid roadhouse Rock & Blues powerhouse. Michelle, the owner of the Looney Bin is a solid supporter of local music going on her 11th year. She has put together one of Bike Weeks gems of a music venue.
Here’s more pictures of the Chris fitz Band
The Paradise Beach Club
The Paradise Beach Club runs two stages during bike week. On the final weekend the main stage is occupied by one of the regions hottest party bands, Tigerlily. Who just happens to have the same drummer as Extreme! When Kevin Figueiredo isn’t jet setting all over the world with Extreme, you’ll find him driving the beat with Tigerlily. here’s some more pictures of Tigerlily.
Tower Hill Tavern
Two doors down from the Paradise is a great venue called the Tower Hill Tavern Great upstairs room with open window views of the strip. I have seen some of my best shows there. Last year had the pleasure of catching Ed’z Zeppelin, one of the truest sounding Zeppelin cover bands I have seen. Here’s some more pictures of Ed’z Zeppelin.
The Bridgewater Inn
I stay around Newfound Lake when I go to bike week and there’s a great little honky tonk venue called The Bridgewater Inn Steakhouse with an upstairs room that hosts some great bands. I was lucky enough to catch Rosemary’s Baby Blues, a great horns driven blues band there a couple years back.
Laconia Harley Davidson:
There are some other venues that I did not make it to that host local music. The Laconia Roadhouse and the Broken spoke are two notables. Maybe next year!
Some videos of the bands featured in this article:
The Chris Fitz Band:
Rosemary’s Baby Blues: